Monday, April 20, 2015

Earth Week Events in Helena and Across Montana!

Monday, April 20th:

ExplorationWorks! is gearing up for Earth Day with a Monday Early Release Earth Week kickoff! Help ExplorationWorks! and the SMART Schools challenge make a recycled Earth Day collage, upcycle at our TinkerLab and make inventions with reused materials, watch fun videos, test your knowledge with trivia games and win fun prizes!

Wednesday, April 22nd:

The Department of Environmental Quality and the SMART Schools Programwill host an Earth Day event at the Capitol Rotunda from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Informational displays on environmental projects and recycling will be presented. The SMART Schools Program promotes sustainability and recycling in Montana schools. More details here!

Looking for a fun Earth Day event? Join Green Drinks Helena and Cultivate Helena at Benny's Bistro for drinks and The Lexicon of Sustainability show!

Saturday, April 25th: Pedals and Paddles

April 25 @ 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Consign or donate it to the Pedals & Paddles (formerly Recycle Your Cycle) Event
scheduled. Saturday, April 25 11:00 – Noon at the Fairgrounds. Proceed benefits Bike
Walk Helena and the Healing Waters Fly Fishing Montana Project. Consignments and
donations accepted Friday, April 24 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.
For more information call 431-

Other Earth Week Events Across Montana (courtesy

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reminder: Helena Recycles Plastics!

We still get a lot of questions about recycling plastics in Helena, so we wanted to send a friendly reminder for folks who don’t know: The City Transfer Station has taken over plastic recycling from S.A.V.E.! Instead of our community recycling drives every two months, you can now recycle plastics ANYTIME at The Transfer Station. No more saving up closets full of plastic – the Transfer Station is open 7 days a week from 8am to 4:45pm.

Don’t have a permit for the Transfer Station? If you’re a renter in a 4-plex or smaller within City Limits, you may be eligible for a free recycling permit. Call 447-8086 for more information. If you are not eligible or live outside of City Limits, you can recycle at the Transfer Station as a cash customer for a $7.00 entry fee. More details on recycling permits here.

The Transfer Station also recycles container glass (such as jars or bottles – cannot be mixed with drinking/wine glasses or window glass!) and most other household recycling materials.

Monday, November 17, 2014

America Recycles Day Celebrated on Saturday!

America Recycles Day was on Saturday (Nov. 15th)! To celebrate, S.A.V.E. and Recycle Montana teamed up to bring recycling information and the Winter Coat Drive to the Carroll College football game and the Hel'z Belles roller derby bout. Thanks to everyone who came by to see us -- we had a blast!

If you missed us this weekend, we'll be having our 11th birthday party and America Recycles Day celebration tomorrow, Nov. 18th from 6-8pm at The Staggering Ox. Find more info at

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Draft Operational Efficiency Study of Solid Waste System

A draft of the efficiency study for Helena's solid waste system is now available online. A joint City-County project, a consultant was hired earlier this year to examine our local solid waste operations, including recycling. The draft document includes the consultant's recommendations for the landfill, Transfer Station, and collection services.

Read the draft here:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Updated Residential Recycling Guide

Friday, May 23, 2014

SAVE Recycling Survey

We've gotten some great responses for our recycling survey so far, with 269 submitted as of yesterday! They are now compiled into one document, and organized into an easier to read format. Check them out here; the first page consists of graphs for the multiple choice responses, followed by the long answer responses to questions 9 and 10 organized by topic. It's great to see all of the support for continued and expanded recycling services in our community!

We plan to share these results with the City & County Solid Waste Study by June 16th, but we are still collecting responses until then. If you haven't gotten a chance yet, please take our survey here, and pass it on to your friends and coworkers!

The City & County are also collecting their own trash and recycling community survey to inform the Solid Waste Study. Learn more about the study and take their survey here.

Decisions made as a result of the Solid Waste Study with affect trash and recycling services for years, so it's very important to show community support for a strong recycling program in Helena! Please make your voice heard!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The National Climate Assessment

"On May 6, the Administration released the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment, the most authoritative and comprehensive source of scientific information to date about climate-change impacts across all U.S. regions and on critical sectors of the economy.

The report, a key deliverable of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, confirms that climate change is not a distant threat — it's affecting us now."
Read the report and find President Obama's action plan here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Please Take Our Plastic Recycling Survey!

Our anonymous survey will help us document how S.A.V.E.’s event program has served Helena Area residents in the past, and help us more effectively promote improved recycling in Helena and surrounding areas. Please tell us what you would like to see for recycling in Helena!

Monday, April 21, 2014

SAVE Earth Day Celebration!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Daily Habits Spring 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

S.A.V.E.'s Updated Recycle Guide

We've updated our Helena Residential Recycling Guide to include the most recent information!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Final Drive- Permanent Plastics Soon to be Realized!

Immediate Release: S.A.V.E. to host a final plastics drive March 14th to 17th; S.A.V.E.
pleased to see community partnership yield to permanent program at City of Helena
Transfer Station
Thad Adkins, Board of Directors
The S.A.V.E. Foundation
Tyler Evilsizer, Chair
The S.A.V.E. Foundation

Helena, Mont. The Student Advocates for Valuing the Environment Foundation (S.A.V.E.) has coordinated a community partnership for recycling plastics in Helena for the past 8 years, providing free collection for plastics during a four day period starting on the second Friday of odd numbered months.

“The community support has been amazing,” notes S.A.V.E. Board member Thad Adkins, “but the event is simply too large to be safe with winter weather, wind, and even rain and lightning in the summer.” Thousands of area residents utilize S.A.V.E.’s Plastics Drives and find themselves out in the cold when dutifully recycling or at a loss when they can’t make a plastics drive. This month’s drive was able to avoid icy conditions thanks to plowing and sanding by General Services of the State of Montana, but extreme winds persisted throughout the entire drive. Transitioning to a drop-off program would no longer require large numbers of people and vehicles to congregate over a long weekend, especially during adverse weather events.

S.A.V.E. is committed to ensuring a smooth transition to a permanent program. Following yesterday’s City of Helena Commission administrative meeting, that goal is now in sight. The City Commission endorsed a staff proposal to incorporate plastics recycling within a two to three month timeline that will include leasing or acquiring compactor units to collect three versions of plastics. This step will provide residents with a service similar to current plastics drives, but on a daily basis during operational hours at the City of Helena Transfer Station. Thad Adkins committed S.A.V.E.’s support to help educate the public on the new program. As a transition measure, S.A.V.E. will host a final drive March 14th to 17th at the parking lot of 1100 N Last Chance Gulch. S.A.V.E. will also distribute materials about the transition to a city operated program during that event.

After a staff presentation and through commission and public discussion, the City Commission gave a green light on the proposal including exploring cost-saving measures by starting with a provisional program. City staff will look at alternative power sources
including the possibility of leasing a generator, the use of used equipment, compactors
retired from waste service that can still work for recycling, and alternative locations within the transfer station for the program.

 Several attendees at the meeting raised concerns about taking action ahead of a joint study by the City of Helena and Lewis & Clark Scratch Gravel Waste District to be conducted this spring and summer. However, Tri-County Sanitation offered continued support noting they could look into making available equipment and hauling services they currently provide for S.A.V.E. drives. Such support would allow the City to hold off on making capital investments for plastics recycling before the study findings are known. Thad Adkins noted that an interim program would generate valuable data for use in the comprehensive program study.

Mayor Smith and Commissioner Ellison voiced support in moving forward with the
program. Mayor Smith, noting that while S.A.V.E. is continuing the bi-monthly drive, would have had their final drive in November “if they had their druthers” and his role as Mayor is to move things forward. He also noted that many City programs, be they public
transportation, the Civic Center, or other public services do not break even. Commissioner Ellison agreed with the Mayor but mentioned he was pleased to see that the staff proposal showed substantial revenues that may approach breaking even, and that many associated costs of plastics recycling could be recovered over time. Commissioner Ellison stated that, “recycling plastic has strong community support, and high public expectations, and the alternatives outlined by staff need only a little more work to get a program underway.”

In his support, Commissioner Elsaesser’s memo noted that the market value of the three
plastic stream collection would rise substantially if clear Type-1 trays (clam shell trays that have fruit) were collected with Type 2 colored plastics (detergent bottles). The resulting collection of Type 1 clear bottles, Type 2 clear milk jugs, while the #1 Tray and Color #2 mix would also maximize the capacity of the city compactors.

Per the staff assessment of plastics market values on January 14th, it was determined that
compacting the plastics at Pacific Steel & Recycling in Helena would likely be the best
option, either selling the plastic to Pacific or paying a processing fee and selling to different venders. Based on current resale values, Type 1 clear, without trays, would yield more per pound. With # 1 clear and # 2 clear making up the majority of plastic currently collected at S.A.V.E. events, a viable program that can recover capital expenses, and offset collection and hauling costs, can be established.

“This is a great day for recycling in Helena,” notes S.A.V.E. Chair Tyler Evilsizer, ”The
longstanding community partnerships have shown Helena’s commitment to recycling and the market for source separated plastics.” The City program takes the lessons learned from the events and overcomes the two main challenges to recycling plastics. Compacting plastics with compactors will overcome the large volume of plastics needed to make market ready bales; a controlled site at the Transfer Station will allow for quality control.

“We want to especially thank our longstanding partners who have made this possible” says Evilsizer, “The City of Helena, Tri-County Sanitation, General Services of the State of Montana, Pacific Steel & Recycling, and the Montana Beverage Association are the primary partners, with Carroll College and A-1 Rentals providing additional support.

S.A.V.E. also looks forward to the comprehensive review of the City and County waste
collection systems. The study, which will look at all operations including the transfer station, residential and commercial collection, and recycling, will focus on integration of the system. As noted in the Helena Independent Record on October 4, 1993 by then City Manager William Verwolf, the public collection setup back then was envisioned to include recycling. “Twenty years later, plastics is a new item ready to join the mix” continues Evilsizer.

“Most of all, S.A.V.E. wants to thank the thousands of community members and the hundreds of volunteers who’ve sustained this program,” concluded Evilsizer. “We have put several hundred thousand pounds of plastics back into the economy with every pound saving the equivalent of a gallon of gas.” More information about the upcoming drive and future of plastics recycling is available at or by calling S.A.V.E. at 449-6008.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Year in Celebrating 10 Years with S.A.V.E.

S.A.V.E. 10 Year Celebration

S.A.V.E. Board and performers Legend Jason DeShaw and Paige Rasmussen 

The Savemobile at 10 Years

Board and Volunteer and Supporter gathering 

 Adam Wright, author of "Savemobile" Co-Founder Elsaesser, and Co-Founder and Country Legend Deshaw

The Savemobile Poem

S.A.V.E. Biodiesel Tour

Red Ants Pants Music Festival 2013

S.A.V.E. Volunteer Crew with Red Ants Pants Founder and Owner Sarah Calhoun

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Support S.A.V.E. for Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday. Please consider making a donation to continue SAVE's effort in advancing environmental stewardship by establishing community capacity, education, and statewide policy.  To donate to SAVE or renew your membership, visit our website at

Please join us in continuing our mission at S.A.V.E.’s Ten Year Anniversary Celebration on December 6th, at the Staggering Ox, from 5:30-8:30pm (entertainment 6:30-8:00pm), featuring performances by Montana country legend Jason DeShaw and the sultry Paige Rasmussen of Bluejack, and a silent auction. Free and open to the public donation suggested.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Next Plastics Drive January 10th to 13th